30 Hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

to be eligible

To be eligible for 30 hours free childcare, you (or your partner if you have one) must have a National Insurance number and at least one of the following:

  • British or Irish citizenship 
  • settled or pre-settled status, or been living in the UK before 1 January 2021 with the right to reside
  • permission to access public funds - your UK residence card will tell you if you cannot do this

You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £139 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage).

If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you're unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.

You can't get 30 hours free childcare if either you, or your partner, each individually expect to earn £100,000 or more.

when can my child start
Your child can start in their childcare place the term after they turn 3 years old and have received a valid 30 hours code, whichever is later. Term start dates are 1st September, 1st January and 1st April.
To keep your 30 hours free childcare place you need to check your details are up to date every 3 months.
watch the video to find out how to apply





Hear what a parent has to say about 30 hours





what isn't covered
The 30 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions. If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider. However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hours place, and must be offered alternative options.